The dirt: Gardening news and notes

  • Updated: May 14, 2014 - 11:47 AM

Food garden hubs

Want to connect with other gardeners in your community — and get access to low-cost seeds and plants? Registration is open for Twin Cities residents who are interested in joining a Local Food Resource Hub. The hubs will hold five seed and seedling distribution events across Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods on Saturday: Northside Minneapolis, 9 a.m. to noon, Redeemer Center for Life, 1800 Glenwood Av. N.; Northeast Minneapolis, 1 to 4 p.m., Grace Center for Community Life and Little Kitchen Food Shelf, 1500 NE. 6th St.; Southside Minneapolis, 9 a.m. to noon, Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Av.; St. Paul Midway, 9 a.m. to noon, Gordon Parks High School, 1212 University Av. W.; East Side St. Paul, 9 a.m. to noon, First Covenant Church, 1280 Arcade.

If you can’t make it to the event closest to your home on Saturday, there’s an alternate pickup on Monday, 6 to 8 p.m. at Grace Center for Community Life and Little Kitchen Food Shelf, 1500 NE. 6th St., Minneapolis.

Residents can join their local hub and select a small or medium garden package, priced at “pay what you can.” To reserve a membership spot, register at one of the seedling distribution events on Saturday, download the membership form (in English or Spanish) and mail to Gardening Matters or sign up online at

“Dirt Day”

The St. Paul Hotel, in partnership with the Mulch Store, will be selling compost created from the hotel’s organic waste to Twin Cities gardeners for $2 per 10-pound bag during its first “Dirt Day” event next Wednesday, May 21, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is designed to help gardeners improve the soil in their gardens while reducing the amount of waste the St. Paul Hotel sends to landfills. The hotel will donate all proceeds, as well as all unsold compost, to the Rice Park Revitalization Project for use in Rice Park’s flower beds. “Dirt Day” will be held in front of the St. Paul Hotel, 350 Market St., St. Paul.

Plant swap coming

Now that plants are popping, take a good, hard look at your garden. Got too many hostas and not enough coneflowers? Come to the Greengirls plant swap to refresh your mix. From 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 31, the Star Tribune’s garden bloggers will be hosting a cash-free plant swap. Our marketplace will be in the small park across the street from the Star Tribune building (425 Portland Av. S. in downtown Minneapolis).

Here’s how it works: Bring whatever you have to share — divisions of plants from your garden, extra seedlings or seeds, containers, garden tools, books or other supplies. If you can strike a deal with a fellow green thumb, you’ve got a trade.

We’ll also be handing out free carrot seeds, gardening calendars and door prizes (while supplies last) and will provide free parking. Of course, the Greengirls will be on hand to bemoan our late spring and answer gardening questions. So divide your overgrown plants, round up those extra seedlings and join us, rain or shine.

All transactions are between individuals. The Star Tribune makes no representations or warranties regarding trades of plants or garden supplies. The management assumes no responsibility for the loss or damage by fire, theft or any other cause to or by the vehicle while in custody of the management.

Free lawn-care workshop

Need some lawn-care tips? This is the time of year to deal with crabgrass and dandelion prevention. Gertens is offering a free lawn-care workshop Saturday and again at 10 a.m. May 24. A Gertens lawn expert will answer all your questions about lawn care. You’ll also get an introduction to the various products and tools available to help produce beautiful lawns. The workshop will be held at Gertens, 5500 Blaine Av., Inver Grove Heights.

Butterfly exhibit

Visitors to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum will have an opportunity to view the wonder of butterflies up close and personal when the exhibit “Butterflies: Beauty in Flight” opens Saturday and continues through Aug. 17 in the Arboretum’s Meyer-Deats Conservatory. Located in the Snyder Building, the conservatory will be filled with butterflies that are native to Minnesota, as well as common plants that sustain those pollinators. Additional features include an “emergence cabinet,” showing the insects in the pupa (chrysalis) stage, as they transition into butterflies, as well as sign­age on their life cycle. Look for butterfly-friendly plantings in containers and gardens.

Also planned are butterfly releases at 10 a.m. on Saturdays, July 12 through Aug. 16.

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